So Wired magazine’s August issue features an article called “”How to Behave: New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans.” Apparently they got a group of social scientists together who articulated social media/new technology etiquette. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Don’t Google-stalk before a first date. The magazine says “Mutual self-disclosure, on the other hand, tends to build strong interpersonal bonds, leading to trust, admiration, and ultimately intimacy. Besides, reading your date’s Muppet Show fanfic might end a beautiful friendship before it even begins.” Seriously? I wouldn’t go into a job interview without Googling the heck out of the company. Why would I meet a stranger without Googling them? Blind dates ended in the eighties, people. (Although to be fair, I Google everyone, all the time, no matter what.)
Meet online friends in the real world. My fear is that my online friends won’t find me as interesting in the real world. Who wants to be a bore? But it’s a good practice and it reinforces the networking part of social networking. So do it. Set up that Tweetup.
Never broadcast your relationship. Wired says “Just because Facebook offers a blank doesn’t mean you need to fill it in. Matters of the heart are too fraught to boil down to the choices offered in a pulldown menu.” This is true and not true. True because the constant back and forth of a relationship make it at times difficult to define. Especially if you’re a college kid whose pushy girlfriend forces you to be “In a relationship” with her. I say leave it blank, because you don’t want to be that person who’s always going back and forth between “Single,” “Complicated,” “In an open relationship,” etc. If you want to be fickle, it’s better to be fickle off Facebook.
At the same time, my girl friends and I tend to use Facebook as an indicator of who’s available and who’s not. Sure, it’s better to ask someone the question in real life. But it does avoid awkwardness if you know beforehand that someone’s taken.
Seek out your coworkers on Facebook. Yes! It humanizes you, you can’t lose.
There’s no such thing as too many friends. Yes, yes there is. I think I topped out between 800-900 at one point. But quality over quantity. If you’re promoting a business/concept/brand, feel free to add the entire world. If you’re a person trying to establish meaningful connections to another person, it”s highly implausible that you’re bosom buddies with every single person on your friends list. When I added everyone I met or who friended me, I thought I was social networking. But social networking is more than just knowing a face. Someone should get something out of the relationship. Ideally, both people should learn something. I’ve become very picky about Facebook friend requests nowadays. If you haven’t talked to me in five years or didn’t talk to me when we “knew” each other, tough luck. At the same time, I have no problem with friending folks who I hope to learn from, but never met in person.
You can reinvent yourself online. Yes, you can. Thank goodness for that option. Some day I will re-invent myself as a ….no idea. But it will happen.